Final Point Standings Driver Championship
1 Sebastien Bourdais 364
2 Justin Wilson 281
3 Rob Doornbos (R) 268
4 Will Power 262
5 Graham Rahal (R) 243
6 Oriol Servia 237
7 Bruno Junqueira 233
8 S. Pagenaud (R) 232
9 Neel Jani (R) 231
10 Alex Tagliani 205
11 Paul Tracy 171
12 T. Gommendy (R) 140
13 Dan Clarke 129
14 Ryan Dalziel (R) 116
15 Katherine Legge 108
16 Jan Heylen 104
17 Alex Figge (R) 95
18 Mario Dominguez 78
19 Nelson Philippe 28
20 David Martinez (R) 18
21 Matt Halliday (R) 18
22 Roberto Moreno 9
Rookie of the Year
1 Robert Doornbos (R) 268
2 Graham Rahal (R) 243
3 Simon Pagenaud (R) 232
4 Neel Jani (R) 231
5 Tristan Gommendy (R) 140
6 Ryan Dalziel (R) 116
7 Alex Figge (R) 95
8 David Martinez (R) 18
9 Matt Halliday (R) 18
Just what is wrong with IndyCar Racing's popularity?
by Mark J. Cipolloni
Saturday, October 16, 2010
In 2000 Gil de Ferran turned a lap of over 241 MPH on the 2-mile Fontana track. He was hitting 260 MPH on the backstraight and he was dragging the Handford Device wing that year. Those were the days when crowds turned out in huge numbers to see the gladiators race. The year before Greg Moore was killed in a violent crash at this same event.
A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I make reference to this AutoWeek article regarding the poor attendance and TV ratings for the IndyCar finale in Miami. How sad. What is your assessment of why IndyCar cannot draw a crowd at many race tracks. Kyle Johnson
Dear Kyle, That is a riddle a lot of smart people are trying to figure out. Here is a list of reasons we feel are all valid in one way or another:
When Tony George created the IRL he fractured the sport and the 'war' with CART drove fans away, and they are not coming back.
Honda wins all the races. More engine manufacturers are desperately needed, who will market the series, their engines, and most importantly their drivers, to their car customers who hopefully will come out to cheer on those driving 'their brand'.
NASCAR has won the war....made easy by the self destruction of open wheel racing
There are too many 'types' of racing, which dilutes the fan base and the sponsorship base. There needs to be consolidation, especially with so many other sports competing for people's attention.
Even NASCAR is way down in attendance and TV ratings. There is a troublesome trend of malaise for the sport by race fans. See #4 above. But in general American racing is not connecting with today's younger generation. Why? Because American racing is spec, dumbed down (to make it cheap) racing. F1 is still hugely popular. Why? Because it is the cream of the crop in driving talent and technical ingenuity. American Racing, because it is so fractured and hence poor, has lost that edge, that seat of the pants excitement. The drivers have become sterile and polite, and the cars spec racers with different decals. The drivers and the cars have lost the 'character' of years gone bye.
Racing has lost its great story telling journalists who wrote compelling articles that engaged their audience and made the sport larger than life. Where have all the Pete Lyons gone?
Fathers today don't tell the racing stories to their children that parents of my generation did. Stories that made kids get excited about racing. In today's two working parent households where their day is consumed by work, housework, running kids to some after school sports, traveling sport teams, etc., there is no time to sit with your kids and engage them in racing stories.
Danica Patrick spread eagle on the cover of FHM magazine
Drivers seldom die anymore. As politically incorrect as it is for me to say it, the fact remains that because drivers died on a regular basis when I was young, it made the sport that much more tantalizing - knowing that the men behind the wheel could die tomorrow. It was a scary time, and a sad time, but it also was an exciting time - men willing to risk their life to defy death every time they stepped into the race car. That's gone now, and we would never want to return to that era, but drivers were gladiators back then, and larger than life heroes. Today we have the Danica Patricks and Milka Dunos spread eagle and half naked on the front of magazine covers. Sure they look sexy and beautiful, and many a male race fan might fancy them, but is this what racing has become? Maybe I'm just too old.
It's the drivers stupid. Sport heroes are always about the best of the best on the playing court. When a car owner is more popular than the driver that is a real problem. When a driver has to bring money to get a ride and help keep a team in business, that is an even bigger problem. Is a football quarterback hired because of how big a check he writes? Hence we end up with drivers not good enough to ever become a hero.
The Versus contract. When IndyCar signed that contract, they signed their death warrant. The broadcasts are good, but the channel is so obscure no one watches it. With miniscule TV ratings teams struggle to find sponsorship. Even Penske Racing ran two cars this year with blank sidepods. That alone should tell you something. To his credit, at least Roger Penske is smart (or rich) enough not to fill those sidepods with a ride buyer's check. He hires the best drivers and he wins races.
Ever been to an F1 or drag race? The sound of the cars are intoxicating. As an old timer who has been an avid race fan since I was 8 years old, and attended more races than I care to admit, if I can share one word of wisdom with you, it is this - Yes it is the driver stupid, but if the sound of the race cars don't make the hair on the back of your neck standup, order the flowers and plan the funeral because that race series isn't going anywhere.
Kids today are exposed to just about every stick and ball sport imaginable - just ask the parents who run from one practice to the next day-in-and-day-out. By the time they have a chance to drive at age 16 or 17 they are already a stick and ball sport fan and the players their heroes. But when do they expose them to go-karts? Want to get a kid hooked on racing at a young age? Get then a helmet, gloves and a used go-kart and get them behind the wheel.
All of the above.
The end of the Gladiator Era
On October 31, the 1999 Marlboro 500 at the Auto Club Speedway (then California Speedway) of Southern California was the final race of the CART FedEx Championship Series season, and was due to be Moore's final race with the Player's Forsythe racing team because of the deal with Penske Racing that would take effect in 2000. It was also a title-deciding race between Juan Pablo Montoya and Dario Franchitti and the grandstands were nearly filled to capacity.
During the weekend before the race, Greg was knocked off his motor scooter by a paddock vehicle and injured his right hand. Unsure that Greg would be able to race, Player's-Forsythe hired Roberto Moreno as an emergency backup driver. After a medical consultation, and an in-car test, he was allowed to race using a hand brace - albeit starting from the back of the grid because his team had missed qualifying.
Following an early race restart, on lap nine of the race, Moore apparently lost control of his car in the exit of turn 2 and spun into the infield grass at more than 200 mph. His car hit an access road and was 'tripped' over to strike the infield concrete wall upside-down at unabated speed. Upon impact he suffered massive head, brain, neck, and other internal injuries.
He was extricated by the CART Safety Team, and was airlifted to nearby Loma Linda University Medical Center. Exhaustive efforts to resuscitate him were made as the injuries had stopped his breathing; however they all failed. Moore was just 24 years old when he died.
The race continued on, with Adrian Fernandez winning the race and both Montoya and Franchitti tied for the championship, with Montoya winning the tie-breaker (more wins). Greg was pronounced dead before the end of the race, and upon learning of this, Auto Club Speedway ordered all track flags at half staff, and CART ordered that there would be no victory celebrations for either the race, or the newly-decided championship. Player's Forsythe racing ordered their other driver, Patrick Carpentier, into the pits and retired Patrick's car mid-race (a traditional act by race teams with more than one car when one of their drivers dies). All other drivers were unaware of Greg's death until the end of the race.
At the request of Greg's father, Ric Moore, the CART end-of-season awards banquet continued as scheduled on the following night, although its format was changed out of respect for the families of Greg Moore and Gonzalo Rodríguez, another CART driver who was killed in a crash earlier in the season at Laguna Seca. Almost 6 laps before the ill-fated lap, driver Richie Hearn had crashed in the exact same location. The skidmark pattern was nearly identical, both drivers having struck the inside wall. Hearn walked away, and Moore did not.
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